Thursday, February 12, 2015

Does Elizabeth Warren Know What Keeps You Running?

Context: Is Pragmatarianism (Tax Choice) Less Wrong?

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The question is, how much tax choice.

Being able to allocate 1% of your taxes to the charity you choose, makes sense. It is actually in effect in some countries.

Being able to allocate 100% of your taxes as you like would be an unmanageable mess because people on average have no idea what is needed to keep a country or an economy running.

Somewhere in-between? Where? Without exact definitions what you mean by "tax choice" every discussion would be completely pointless. - Val

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What is a country or an economy if not all the people in it?  In essence you're saying that allowing people to allocate 100% of their taxes would be an unmanageable mess because people on average have no idea what is needed to keep themselves running.

Like I said in the FAQ... congress would still be there.  If you have any evidence that leads you to believe that Elizabeth Warren knows better than you do what keeps you running... then you'd certainly have the option to give her some, or all, of your taxes.

If, in a pragmatarian system, most people do give their taxes to their impersonal shoppers... well... then you were right!  Congratulations!  We'd have solid evidence that most people do not know what keeps them running.  Your theory would be proved correct.  And no harm or foul by having it proved!

But what if your theory is incorrect?  What if most people do not give their taxes to the impersonal shoppers that they voted for?  Clearly this would mean that most people did not have enough evidence to believe that their impersonal shoppers know better than they do what keeps them running.

Can you see the problem with our current system if your theory is incorrect?  If your theory is incorrect then it means that we're currently giving an absurd amount of money (power, control, influence, responsibility) to a small group of people who really do not know what keeps us (the country/economy) running.

Is it possible that your theory is incorrect?  Clearly I'm willing to bet a lot of my time on it.  Maybe you should keep the possibility of being wrong in mind the next time you scratch your head or blame the other side when the economy/country ends up in the ditch.

Yet difficult as he [the modern politician] finds it to deal with humanity in detail, he is confident in his ability to deal with embodied humanity.  Citizens, not one-thousandth of whom he knows, not one-hundreth of whom he ever saw, and the great mass of whom belong to classes having habits and modes of thought of which he has but dim notions, he feels sure will act in ways he foresees, and fulfill ends he wishes.  Is there not a marvelous incongruity between premises and conclusion? - Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Also...

What is the species of domestic industry which his capital can employ, and of which the produce is likely to be of the greatest value, every individual, it is evident, can, in his local situation, judge much better than any statesman or lawgiver can do for him. The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Also...

What do we want with a Socialist then, who, under pretence of organizing for us, comes despotically to break up our voluntary arrangements, to check the division of labour, to substitute isolated efforts for combined ones, and to send civilization back? Is association, as I describe it here, in itself less association, because every one enters and leaves it freely, chooses his place in it, judges and bargains for himself on his own responsibility, and brings with him the spring and warrant of personal interest? That it may deserve this name, is it necessary that a pretended reformer should come and impose upon us his plan and his will, and as it were, to concentrate mankind in himself? - Frédéric Bastiat, What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

And...

It is a paradox of our age that the interventionists think the public is too stupid to consult Angie’s List before hiring a lawyer, and so they need politicians to weed out the really bad ones by requiring law licenses. Yet, who determines whether a person (often a lawyer!) is qualified to become a politician? Why, the same group of citizens who were too stupid to pick their own lawyers. - Bob Murphy, Do We Need the State to License Professionals?

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